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Hindu Temple Architecture During Kakatiya Dynasty

The Hindu temple architecture of the Kakatiya dynasty or the Kakatiyas is breathtaking and belongs to a distinct category. The Kakatiya dynasty ruled in the 12th – 13th century CE mainly in the Telengana area of India. The Kakatiya temples, though derived mostly from the Western Chalukya style, show some characteristic features and form a distinct category. They comprise single vimanas as well as trikuta (triple) units. Large shrines, though built of stone, often show brick and mortar superstructures.

Veyistambhala Gudi – the thousand-pillared temple – at Hanamkonda, built by king Prataparudra I (1162 – 63 CE), enshrining Rudreshwara, Vasudeva and Surya murtis in a trikuta (triple shrine) of considerable dimensions opening into a common mandapa (hall) and standing over a common platform, shows the transition from the late Western Chalukya to the Kakatiya style. The mandapa, attached to the intervening Nandi-mandapa, has about three hundred lathe-turned richly carved pillars. The superstructure has been lost to the ravages of time. The adhisthana, the walls with pilasters and the prastara are repeatedly offset, with projected bays. Freestanding toranas mark the entrances. The trikuta shrine at Pillalamarri, Erakeshvara, now called Someshwara, built in 1208, like the great temple at Palampet, is a complete unit of the Kakatiya pattern.

The temples at Palampet represent another important group. The main temple here was built in 1215 CE. It stands on a high platform with a Nandi-mandapa in front and is enclosed by a massive wall. The vimana is connected with a closed square antarala or ardha-mandapa and a large navaranga in front, surrounded by a peripheral platform with an outer series of 32 pillars and a circumambulatory. Pillars have beautiful brackets in the form of female figures. Sukanasika is an invariable characteristic decorative motif is a cruciform rosette or a lotus with four petals spread crosswise, which persisted even later.